Acta Herpetologica https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah <div> <p><em>Acta Herpetologica</em>, a journal open to academics all over the world, offers itself as a new site for the presentation and discussion of the most recent results in the field of research on Amphibians and Reptiles, both living and extinct. The official journal of the&nbsp;<em>Societas Herpetologica Italica</em>&nbsp;(S.H.I.), Acta Herpetologica publishes original works – extended articles, short notes and book reviews – mostly in English, dealing with the biology and diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles.</p> </div> <p><br><strong>Editor in Chief</strong><br>Marco Mangiacotti, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy</p> Firenze University Press en-US Acta Herpetologica 1827-9635 <p>Authors retain the copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a <strong>Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/">CC-BY-4.0</a>)</strong> that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication.</p> <p><a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" rel="license"><img src="https://i.creativecommons.org/l/by/4.0/88x31.png" alt="Creative Commons License"></a><br>This work is licensed under a <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" rel="license">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License</a></p> Cryptic diversity in pygmy chameleons (Chamaeleonidae: Rhampholeon) of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania, with description of six new species https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/12978 <p class="p1">Previous molecular phylogenetic studies of pygmy chameleons have identified several cases of undescribed cryptic diversity of species, some of which have remained undescribed due to a lack of morphological information. Here, we combine descriptive morphology with principal component analysis, to quantify the overall morphological variation, and phylogenetic analysis to describe six new species of <em>Rhampholeon </em>from the Eastern Arc Mountains, including populations found in the Udzungwa, Rubeho, Nguru, Ukaguru, and Nguu Mountains. From our study we detected only limited morphometric variation between species. We distinguish the new species using genetics, combined with assessment of morphological features, and their geographical distribution. We highlight the threats to pygmy chameleons in East Africa from habitat change and exporting live specimens for the wildlife trade. Based on our understanding, we note a few species that we consider at risk of decline – mainly based on their narrow distribution and their apparent popularity in the export market. This study also further underlines the extraordinary biological value of the relatively small forest patches (less than 3000 km<sup>2</sup>) of the Eastern Arc, which contain more species of chameleons than any other area in mainland Africa.</p> Michele Menegon John V. Lyakurwa Simon P. Loader Krystal A. Tolley Copyright (c) 2022 Michele Menegon, John Lyakurwa, Simon Loader, Krystal Tolley https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-11-02 2022-11-02 17 2 85 113 10.36253/a_h-12978 Preliminary genetic characterisation of Southern Smooth Snake Coronella girondica (Serpentes, Colubridae) populations in Italy, with some considerations on their alpine distribution https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/12556 <p class="p1">The Southern smooth snake, <em>Coronella girondica</em>, is a small-sized colubrid found in Northwest Africa and Southwest Europe. Mitochondrial DNA-based studies showed that the species can be split into five clades: two from Northwest Africa (one Moroccan and one Tunisian-Algerian) and three from Europe (one in the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula, one in the south-east of Spain and one in the rest of the European range). With regards to Italy, to date, only two samples have been analysed both from the Province of Pisa, Tuscany, pointing at that fact that genetic characterisation of Italian populations is still lacking. Accordingly, we have increased the sampling coverage with 19 new samples from northern and central regions of Italy, including two populations, apparently disconnected from the rest of the known range, and analysed their phylogenetic relationships using a portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Our results confirm the general phylogenetic arrangement detected in previous studies; specifically for Italian populations, no variability emerged from the Apennine populations, and a slight differentiation could be shown for the Alpine and subalpine ones. This pattern can be explained assuming past spread and recent isolation of <em>C. girondica</em> relict populations in the Alpine region, likely during the Last Glacial Maximum. Later, during the Holocene, the Italian Alps and the Po Plain went through various climatic variations and high anthropization which may have influenced <em>C. girondica</em> distribution through expansion and contraction processes.</p> Matteo R. Di Nicola Raffaella Melfi Francesco P. Faraone Daniel L.N. Iversen Gabriele Giacalone Giovanni Paolino Mario Lo Valvo Copyright (c) 2022 Francesco Paolo Faraone, Matteo Di Nicola, Raffaella Melfi, Daniel L. N. Iversen, Gabriele Giacalone, Giovanni Paolino, Mario Lo Valvo https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-07-18 2022-07-18 17 2 115 124 10.36253/a_h-12556 Species diversity and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Sardinia, Italy https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/13627 <p class="p1">Although distribution databases are a dynamic tool, continuously updated, it is important to take “snapshots” of the species distribution over time to promptly identify potential conservation issues. With this work, we provide an update of the distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Sardinia and satellite islands. Data derive from both direct field observations (carried out since 2005 until July 2022) and literature, accounting for over 7000 records: 1416 records of 11 species of amphibians and 5600 records of 18 species of reptiles. Distribution maps (on 10 × 10 km UTM grid) of 29 species are provided in supplementary materials as well as the updated list of the amphibians and reptiles occurring in the circum-Sardinian islands. Most of the meshes were characterized by the presence of 1-3 amphibian species (73%) and 6-8 or 9-11 reptile species (32% with 6-8 species, 30% with 9-11 species). Species abundance was favoured by environmental heterogeneity, and mostly varied in relation to elevation range and edge density.</p> Claudia Corti Marta Biaggini Valeria Nulchis Roberto Cogoni Ilaria Maria Cossu Salvatore Frau Manuela Mulargia Enrico Lunghi Lara Bassu Copyright (c) 2022 Claudia Corti, Marta Biaggini, Valeria Nulchis, Roberto Cogoni, Ilaria Maria Cossu, Salvatore Frau, Manuela Mulargia, Enrico Lunghi, Lara Bassu https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-10-20 2022-10-20 17 2 125 133 10.36253/a_h-13627 The Italian wall lizard, Podarcis siculus campestris, unexpected presence on Gorgona Island (Tuscan Archipelago) https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/12388 <p class="p1">We here report the unexpected presence of the Italian wall lizard (<em>Podarcis siculus campestris</em>) on Gorgona Island, in the Parco Nazionale Arcipelago Toscano (Tuscan Archipelago, Tyrrhenian Sea, Tuscany, Central Italy). Field observations were carried out in 2020 confirming its presence on the island, where it had never been reported before. We recorded 37 GPS points of the species in three major areas of Gorgona (with 50 lizard records) and about 180 visual counts regarding all age classes (newborns, juveniles and adults). The species was found in the urban area (site of state prison) and in two grassy and bushed areas, around and along olive tree plantations. Seven individuals were captured and their tails were used to assess the sequence variation of the mitochondrial <em>CYB</em> gene. Biometrical parameters were also evaluated for six of these individuals. We detected three distinct <em>CYB </em>haplotypes that were compared to <em>Podarcis siculus</em> <em>CYB</em> sequences available in public databases. They resulted identical or phylogenetically closest to those found in mainland Tuscany. One haplotype, found in three specimens, was identical to one previously detected at Orti Bottagone (WWF Oasis in Piombino), while the other two haplotypes were most similar to haplotypes reported in the Giannella peninsula and Pisa, respectively.</p> Marco Alberto Luca Zuffi Alan J. Coladonato Gianluca Lombardo Antonio Torroni Matilde Boschetti Stefano Scali Marco Mangiacotti Roberto Sacchi Copyright (c) 2022 Marco Alberto Luca Zuffi, Alan J. Coladonato, Gianluca Lombardo, Antonio Torroni, Matilde Boschetti, Stefano Scali, Marco Mangiacotti, Roberto Sacchi https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-07-28 2022-07-28 17 2 135 145 10.36253/a_h-12388 Molecular analysis of recently introduced populations of the Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus) https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/12542 <p class="p1">In recent decades, many reptile species have been introduced outside their native ranges, either accidentally through the transportation of goods and materials (e.g., plants, construction materials), but also intentionally through the pet trade. As a paradigmatic example, the Italian wall lizard, <em>Podarcis siculus</em>, native to the Italian Peninsula, Sicily and the north Adriatic coast, has been introduced in several nearby islands since historical times (Corsica, Sardinia, Menorca). Besides these regions, scattered populations were later reported from the Iberian Peninsula, France, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom and North America. Here, we provide molecular evidence regarding the introduction and origin of <em>P. siculus</em> in six new populations outside its native range: Romania (Bucharest and Alba Iulia), inland Croatia (Zagreb and Karlovac), Italy (Lampedusa Island) and Azerbaijan (Baku). Phylogenetic analysis suggests that the Alba Iulia (Romania) population originated from a single clade (Tuscany), while the population from Azerbaijan is admixed including two distinct clades, one similar to those found in Sicily and the other present across the Tuscany clade. Samples from Bucharest also have admixed origins in Tuscany and the Adriatic clades. Less surprisingly, samples from Zagreb and Karlovac are included in the Adriatic clade while those from Lampedusa originated from Sicily. Overall, our results further demonstrate that <em>P. siculus</em> is able to establish outside of its native range even under different climatic conditions, not particularly from specific clades or source areas. Also, for the first time in this species, our results indicate that repeated human introductions promote lineage admixture and enhance their invasive potential.</p> Oleksandra Oskyrko Lekshmi B. Sreelatha Iolanda Silva-Rocha Tibor Sos Sabina E. Vlad Dan Cogălniceanu Florina Stănescu Tavakkul M. Iskenderov Igor V. Doronin Duje Lisičić Miguel A. Carretero Copyright (c) 2022 Oleksandra Oskyrko, Lekshmi B. Sreelatha, Iolanda Silva-Rocha, Tibor Sos, Sabina E. Vlad, Dan Cogălniceanu, Florina Stănescu, Tavakkul M. Iskenderov, Igor V. Doronin, Duje Lisičić, Miguel A. Carretero https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-07-18 2022-07-18 17 2 147 157 10.36253/a_h-12542 Sunny-side up: ontogenetic variation in egg mass temperatures of the wood frog Rana sylvatica https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/12660 <p class="p1">The efficacy of most biological processes is temperature dependent and, within physiological limits, on average, warmer is better. This axiom of biology has led to a wide range of adaptations for dealing with temperatures that are outside of an organism’s preferred temperature. Many pond-breeding amphibians lay their eggs during early spring, when water temperatures are near freezing. Communal nest-site selection has been proposed as a mechanism to increase developmental temperatures, and temperatures near the center of egg-mass aggregations are elevated relative to egg-masses on the aggregation’s periphery. It is unclear whether this spatial variation in temperature is due to concentration of metabolic heat, absorption of solar radiation, or both. Here, we explore finer scale spatial variation within egg masses of the wood frog <em>Rana sylvatica</em>, one of the earliest amphibians to breed during the North American spring. We compared peripheral and core temperatures of egg masses that were exposed either to 1) ambient sunlight from above, or 2) sunlight reflected by a mirror from below. We found that differences between core and peripheral temperatures were higher in the control than in the mirror treatment, but core and peripheral temperatures were statistically indistinguishable in both cases. Moreover, the difference in peripheral and internal temperatures increased significantly over the course of development. However, these trends were only significant in ambient sunlight and actually decreased in the mirror group. Our results suggest that the benefits of communal nesting are also experienced by individual egg masses, albeit to a lesser extent. In addition, the lack of effect in shaded egg masses suggests that the thermal advantage is tied to sun exposure and not due to concentration of metabolic heat.</p> Ryan Calsbeek Ava Calsbeek Isabel Calsbeek Copyright (c) 2022 Ryan Calsbeek https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-08-01 2022-08-01 17 2 159 164 10.36253/a_h-12660 Ecological niche differentiation in the Anatolian rock lizards (Genus: Anatololacerta) (Reptilia: Lacertidae) of the Anatolian Peninsula and Aegean Islands https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/13089 <p class="p1">The genus <em>Anatololacerta </em>is distributed in the eastern Mediterranean region including Asia Minor and some east Aegean islands. Recent phylogenetic studies suggested that this genus displayed cryptic diversity and was divided into five species: <em>A. anatolica, A. pelasgiana, A. ibrahimi, A. finikensis</em> and<em> A. danfordi</em>. The ecological niche differentiations of these species have not been studied so far. Our aims for this study were to predict the potential suitable habitats for the species nested in genus <em>Anatololacerta</em>, and to examine the niche overlaps and differentiations via identity and background tests. The occurrence data were obtained from literature and our own field surveys. Occurrence records were rarefied and assessed in a 30 arc-second resolution layer, compatible with several bioclimatic and topographic variables. Species distribution analyses were performed using maximum entropy approach and pairwise niche comparisons were evaluated by identity and background tests. Our results demonstrated that the species delimitation among this genus was not only affected by geographic isolation but also that precipitation and temperature influenced the habitat suitability for these species. Predicted suitability usually well matched the actual species distributions. Moreover, the niche overlap (identity test) analyses verified that allopatric <em>Anatololacerta </em>species show clear ecological differentiations. However, a niche overlap between parapatric species <em>A. pelasgiana</em> and <em>A. finikensis</em>, was confirmed by identity and background tests. It has been suggested that these parapatric species could be more affected by microclimatological parameters than the others. The results of our study are in agreement with the latest phylogenetic study within this genus.</p> Mehmet Kürşat Şahin Kamil Candan Danae Karakasi Petros Lymberakis Nikos Poulakakis Yusuf Kumlutaş Elif Yildirim Çetin Ilgaz Copyright (c) 2022 Mehmet Kürşat Şahin, Kamil Candan, Danae Karakasi, Petros Lymberakis, Nikos Poulakakis, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Elif Yıldırım, Çetin Ilgaz https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-08-03 2022-08-03 17 2 165 175 10.36253/a_h-13089 Occupancy and probability of detection of the introduced population of Eleutherodactylus coqui in Turrialba, Costa Rica https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/13209 <p class="p1">The Puerto Rican Common coqui frog (<em>Eleutherodactylus coqui</em>) has a long history as an invasive species in places such as Hawaii. Since its introduction in Costa Rica, scarce information is available to understand why and how the habitat in the Turrialba town is suitable for the species. Our goal was to analyze the habitat selection of <em>E. coqui</em> to identify if there are key habitat features that explained its success there. We measured 9 site variables that may affect the habitat selection of <em>E. coqui</em> in 92 survey units of 10 m radius distributed over a 500 m radius from its introduction point.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp; </span>We registered the presence/pseudo-absence data of <em>E. coqui</em> and environmental variables in each survey unit during eight surveys. We ran occupancy models to determine the influence of the variables on the habitat selection and to estimate its detection probability. We found that sites near the introduction point, containing abundant vegetation, bromeliads, and palms have a higher probability to be occupied by <em>E. coqui</em>. The habitat selection in Costa Rica shares characteristics with the populations of Puerto Rico and Hawaii. But, unlike the case in Hawaii, in Costa Rica this species has maintained a limited dispersal because the potentially higher biotic resistance, as well a sedentary behavior. However, the microhabitat conditions used by <em>E. coqui</em> in the study site are common throughout the country. Therefore, active management in new populations and environmental education programs to avoid human transportation of the species is critical to reduce its dispersal.</p> Jimmy Barrantes-Madrigal Manuel Spínola Parallada Gilbert Alvarado Víctor J. Acosta-Chaves Copyright (c) 2022 Jimmy Barrantes-Madrigal, Manuel Spínola Parallada, Gilbert Alvarado, Víctor J. Acosta-Chaves https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-07-28 2022-07-28 17 2 177 186 10.36253/a_h-13209 One site, three species, three stories: syntopy of geckoes Euleptes europaea (Gené, 1839), Hemidactylus turcicus (Linnaeus, 1758), Tarentola mauritanica (Linnaeus, 1758) in a coastal area of southern Tuscany (central Italy) https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/11547 <p class="p1">Ecological aspects of syntopic geckoes were rarely addressed in the Mediterranean basin. We reported basic information on habitat use, and activity patterns of three species found in syntopy in Cala Violina site (divided in three subareas), a highly touristic beach located in southern Tuscany, central Italy, during 2009-2010. The most abundant species at first capture is <em>Hemidactylus turcicus</em> (94 individuals), while <em>Tarentola mauritanica</em> and <em>Euleptes europaea</em> are less represented (28 animals in both cases). Total captures and recaptures were 175. Sex ratio did not differ from 1:1 in all the species, nor sexes of adults did differ in size. Ambient temperatures did not differ in <em>T. mauritanica</em> and <em>E. europaea</em>, while were different in <em>H. turcicus</em>. Despite the humidity of capture sites did not vary among species, we recorded the highest number of <em>E. europaea</em> at 95% and <em>H. turcicus</em> at 62% humidity. Wind influenced negatively <em>T. mauritanica</em> and <em>H. turcicus</em> presence, not on <em>E. europaea</em>. Higher observation rate took place between 21:00 and 22:00. After 23:00, only <em>Euleptes</em> was active. Height from the ground was different only in <em>H. turcicus</em>. General Linear Models showed that interaction substrate-height at capture was important for <em>Euleptes</em>, not for the other two species. Along the area, <em>E. europaea</em> was more concentrated in the northern patch, while <em>T. mauritanica</em> and <em>H. turcicus</em> distributed more homogeneously. We suggest limitation of human presence for conservation purposes.</p> Giacomo Radi Marco Zuffi Copyright (c) 2022 Giacomo Radi, Marco Zuffi https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-08-03 2022-08-03 17 2 187 195 10.36253/a_h-11547 Comparative cytogenetics on Zamenis lineatus and Elaphe quatuorlineata (Serpentes: Colubridae) https://oaj.fupress.net/index.php/ah/article/view/13467 <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Because of their peculiar genomic and chromosomal characteristics, reptiles are extraordinary model organisms to study karyotype and sex chromosome evolution, but despite the growing interest in their evolutionary cytogenetics, only a small fraction of species have a known karyotype. We performed a comparative cytogenetic analysis on <em>Elaphe quatuorlineata</em> and <em>Zamenis lineatus</em>, using classic and molecular techniques. We provide the karyotype of these two species and an assessment of their chromosomal features. Chromosome analysis was performed with standard karyotyping, C-banding, sequential C-banding + CMA<sub>3</sub> + DAPI and Ag-NOR staining. On <em>E. quatuorlineata</em>, we also performed CMA<sub>3</sub>-methyl green staining and Fluorescence in situ Hybridization mapping NOR loci (NOR-FISH). <em>Elaphe quatuorlineata</em> and <em>Z. lineatus</em> show a very similar karyotype of 2n = 36, with 8 macro- and 10 microchromosome pairs, but differ in the morphology of the pair 8, which resulted submetacentric in the former and metacentric in the latter species. By comparing our data to those available from the literature on congeneric species, we analysed the occurrence of primitive and derivate chromosomal characters and provide cytotaxonomic insights, which further support the species status of <em>Z</em>. <em>lineatus.</em> In both species, the 4<sup>th</sup> pair was identified as the sex chromosome pair (ZZ/ZW) and NORs were localized on a microchromosome pair. We finally highlight in both genera <em>Elaphe</em> and <em>Zamenis</em> different stages of heterochromatinization of the W chromosome, in agreement with the progressive diversification model of sex chromosome as already shown in different reptile taxa.</span></p> Marcello Mezzasalma Elvira Brunelli Gaetano Odierna Fabio M. Guarino Copyright (c) 2022 Marcello Mezzasalma, Elvira Brunelli, Gaetano Odierna, Fabio M. Guarino https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-11-07 2022-11-07 17 2 197 203 10.36253/a_h-13467